Love the Great Outdoors but don’t get out enough? Well, we’re about to change all that! Leap into 2020 with our guide to things to see and do in the Visit Wales Year of Outdoors.
In North Wales we’re blessed with miles and miles of beautiful coast and countryside but it’s easy to take for granted when you live here, isn’t it?
Whether you’re looking to take up a new pastime, try a more challenging route on bike or foot or just want to get the family closer to nature, there are countless ways for you to get outdoors more this year. Here’s a few of our favourites:
From the Wales Coast Path to the Snowdonia Slate Trail, the Mawddach Trail to majestic Snowdonia, we could fill the magazine with North Wales’s best walks, but two of our favourites are easily accessible for everyone.
They say all roads lead to Rome but in Betws-y-Coed most walks start and end at the same point – in the charming, tourist-friendly village centre. There are several waymarked trails designed for different abilities and fitness levels but our tried-and-tested favourite is the gorgeous riverside amble up to the Miners’ Bridge.
Or get far from the madding crowd and follow the valley from the tiny hamlet of Abergwyngregyn to the stunning Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall. It’s a favourite with locals, especially as it’s accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs and dog friendly too!
Wales leads the way as one of the UK’s top watersports destinations. With the iconic Adventure Parc Snowdonia (formerly Surf Snowdonia) in the Conwy Valley and the National White Water Rafting Centre in the heart of Snowdonia, plus hundreds of miles of rivers, lakes and coastline, water babies are spoiled for choice here.
Want to try something brand new for the Year of Outdoors? Powerboat operators RibRibe in Menai Bridge have introduced FoilRide – an emissions-free electric surfboard (eFoil). The basics can be mastered in just one lesson, so it’s a great weekend or holiday activity!
On two wheels
Did you know, it’s possible to cycle the length of Wales on the National Cycle Network? That means, wherever you are in Wales you’re never far from a safe, marked route taking you through some of the most dazzling landscapes we have to offer. In North Wales, the Lon Las Ogwen takes you on a dramatic journey from the coast to the heart of the mountains.
But if this is too sedate for your tastes, let’s ramp it up a gear – literally. Antur Stiniog, sprawls across the disused quarries and moors above Blaenau Ffestiniog. This mountain biking park boats no less than 14 downhill runs – ranging from easy greens to technical blacks – plus a regular uplift service so you can squeeze every last run out of your day!
From the saddle
Pub quiz factoid: Anglesey has the most horses per head in the whole of the UK! We think it’s a combination of the island’s gently rolling countryside and miles of designated bridleways that make it an equestrian’s paradise.
If you’ve always harboured a dream of getting in the saddle Anglesey Riding Centre can help that dream come true. Catering for all abilities, the centre’s fully-qualified instructors will coach you from your first tentative steps in the all-weather arena to the moment of your first exhilarating gallop along the vast Abermenai Sands (a mile long stretch of beach with some of the finest views anywhere in North Wales).
Way up high
It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that North Wales is home to some blockbuster adrenaline attractions. We’ve mentioned a few of them already but we’d be failing in our duty as outdoor advocates if we didn’t mention Zip World.
Occupying several different sites around Snowdonia, this award-winning adventure complex offers thrilling adventure experiences for all ages. Boasting both the world’s fastest and Europe’s longest ziplines, a Zip World adventure is the ultimate way to get outdoors in 2020.
Kids will love Zip Fforest just outside Betws-y-Coed, with its treetop obstacle course and thrilling coaster, while the more edgy among you will be attracted to the heights and speeds of the ziplines; chief among them Penrhyn Quarry’s ‘Big Zipper’ – a mile long with speeds of up to 118mph!
Set in stunning surroundings and boasting some of the most original tourist attractions in the whole of the UK, is there a more innovative way to get yourself outdoors this year than with a visit to Zip World?
So now we’ve inspired you, what’s it going to be? Can you see yourself galloping along a deserted beach or cruising through calm waters? Will you explore the well-trodden paths or blaze a trail of your own? Whatever you decide, fire up your sense of adventure, grab the gang and get outdoors to #FindYourEpic this year!